Special hospital for elderly sought

September 12, 2019

A House leader is pushing for a special hospital that will cater to  at least nine million senior citizens.

House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr. said  while the country has the National Children’s Hospital to address the needs of the young, it does not have a counterpart for the elderly.

Abante has filed  House Bill 3939, a measure that seeks to convert the National Center for Geriatric Health (NCGH) into the National Geriatric Health and Research Institute (NGHRI), thereby establishing a fully-operational hospital that will cater to health services for the elderly.

Abante, who on Thursday visited the NCGH in San Miguel, Manila, lamented that at present “the NCGH is just an outpatient department under the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.”

“Unfortunately, this hospital is not operational because of the absence of a law that allows for its operations,” the Minority leader said.

According to the lawmaker, who was instrumental in the establishment of the NCGH inaugurated by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2010, “a fully-functional and operational hospital that focuses on geriatric health is given the growing number of senior citizens in our country.”

The latest data from the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) revealed that 8.2 percent of the country’s 104.9 million citizens -- or 8.6 million Filipinos -- are aged 60 and older.

“By 2030 to 2035, that percentage is expected to hit 14 percent. Our population is aging, and we must work to develop infrastructure and institute policies that will enable us to properly care for the nation’s elderly,” Abante added.

House Bill 393  or “The National Center for Geriatric Health and Research Institute Act,” establishes the NCGHRI, a 100-bed hospital that will be attached to the Department of Health (DoH). Under the measure, not less than 40% of the NCGHRI’s hospital beds shall be allocated for indigent patients.